Cover image for Grasshopper summer
Grasshopper summer
Turner, Ann Warren.
Personal Author:
First Aladdin Paperbacks edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Aladdin Paperbacks, 2000.

Physical Description:
149 pages ; 20 cm
In 1874 eleven-year-old Sam and his family move from Kentucky to the southern Dakota Territory, where harsh conditions and a plague of hungry grasshoppers threaten their chances for survival.
Reading Level:
580 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.6 4.0 8526.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.2 6 Quiz: 04728.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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In 1874, eleven-year-old Sam White and his family are moving from Kentucky to the Dakota Territory. These hardy pioneers know it will be hard work, but they don't expect the devastating plague that comes like an unstoppable force to sweep away all their hopes for the future. They will cope.
But they will never forget this grasshopper summer.

Author Notes

Ann Warren Turner was born in December 1945. She is an American poet and children's author. Her poetry works include Tickle a Pickle, Street Talk, Mississippi Mud, and Learning to Swim: a Memoir. Her picture books include Dakota Dugout, When Mr. Jefferson Came to Philadelphia: What I Learned of Freedom, Pumpkin Cat, and Sitting Bull Remembers. her novels include: A Hunter Comes Home, Rosemary's Witch, and Hard Hit. She has also won first prize in 1967 from The Atlantic Monthly college creative writing contest and first prize in 1991 from the National Council for the Social Studies for Through the Stars ansd Night Skies.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. Eager to take advantage of the Home~stead Act, Sam's father moves his family from Kentucky to the Dakota Territory. Their long, hard journey and the heartbreaking sight of a pony being accidently drowned stay in 11-year-old Sam's and his younger brother Billy's minds long after they reach their destination. These events reaffirm Sam's unhappiness with the move. The loneliness of the prairie, the deprivation he finds, and the backbreaking work add to his distress. But he and his family survive even a grueling fight with grasshoppers, and Sam comes to see their sod house and the wide-open spaces as home. In places the story proceeds as slowly as the wagon wheels carrying them west, but the portrayal is evocative and has an authentic ring. Turner etches her characters with skill, and readers who persevere will come away caring about the White family, longing for a next chapter in Sam's journey to self-discovery on the Dakota plains. --Barbara Elleman

Publisher's Weekly Review

After the Civil War, Sam's father decides that he's had enough of the overworked Kentucky bottomland that he has farmed for his in-laws. He takes his family by wagon to the Dakota Territory, where land is as cheap as the cost of settling it. Sam can't get accustomed to the big sky in Nebraska, but he and his brother Billy gradually learn to like their new surroundings. It is only when a swarm of grasshoppers drops out of the sky and devours their first crop that Sam realizes that although his own family is staying on, the price of settling a new land, for some folks, is just too high. Turner deftly balances tranquil scenes (the family's pitching in to build the sod house) with terrifying ones (the grasshoppers eat anything green, even the green stripes of a woman's dress--while she is still wearing it). This is a solid piece of writing--a sturdy blend of action, adventure and thoughtfulness that will appeal to both boys and girls. Ages 8-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-- When his father decides that it's time for a fresh start far from Kentucky, Sam White is not as enthusiastic as his younger brother Billy. Moving means goodbyes--to his grandparents, to his friends, and to his home. But, faced with no other choice, Sam grips his lucky fossil stone and determines to make the best of the situation. Thus begins the difficult and exciting adventure of a journey to the Dakota Territories in 1874 to start a new life. In vivid language and descriptions, Turner conveys the family's hard and lonely life on the road; their excited efforts in building their new home and preparing the land for planting; and their frustration and heartbreak when all is destroyed by a plague of locusts. Yet there is always the family's bond of love to ease the difficulty. Young readers will particularly enjoy Turner's ``creepy'' descriptions of the grasshopper invasion and the futility of the family in dealing with it. This book will appeal to fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's ``Little House'' series (Harper). A good realistic novel of frontier life. --Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, Tenn. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.